Sunday, March 30, 2014

Too Many Passengers, Not Enough Seats

Last week when Hubby Tony and I were coming home from our trip to Phoenix our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:50. We were sitting at the gate shortly before they started boarding the plane when we heard an announcement that the plane was overbooked.  The airline asked for volunteers to give up their seats.

Tony and I looked at each other--we'd never done anything like that before, but we had a flexible schedule, so we approached the check-in counter and asked for more details. We learned that they'd give us a generous flight voucher and seats on the next flight. That flight went through Chicago and involved a change of planes, but the agent said the 45-minute layover would be more than enough time. We decided to be adventurous and go for it.

They had us get on the plane as usual, in case someone didn't show up at the last minute. As we were standing in line to board I saw the people who wanted our seats--a young couple with a toddler in a stroller. After only a few minutes in the plane they called our names and said they did need our seats. Good thing I hadn't gotten comfortable!  We deplaned, then stopped at the check-in counter to get our new boarding passes and vouchers. Our checked bags would fly to St. Louis without us. They'd hold them in the baggage service office until we got there.

The new flight left Phoenix at 3:00. We had time to kill, so we walked around the airport and browsed in a couple of gift shops.  The next time I glanced at the Departure board I noticed that our new flight was running late--so late it was arriving in Chicago five minutes before our connection left. That was a problem!

We talked to a counter agent, who (re)rebooked us on a direct flight to St. Louis that left at 6:50. There was now a lot of time to kill, and I didn't want to spend it hanging around the airport.  Son Tony had talked about the city's light rail system; I decided to find out more about it.  We walked back to the main terminal and talked to a friendly woman at an information desk who was very helpful.  She pointed us in the direction of the Sky Train (an electric people mover) which ended at a Metro station. The whole system was easy to navigate, and ten minutes later we were seated on a train headed toward downtown Phoenix where we had almost five hours to walk around and eat dinner before it was time to get back to the airport.

We have a year to use our voucher, and we're already talking about where to go.

Five years ago today: Enumeration

8 comments:

  1. Score! Can't wait to hear where you decide to go.

    I've never been able to give up my seat because the only time they've asked is when I have a tight schedule. Someday maybe...

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    1. Our first choice for a bonus flight would have been something overseas, but we went Southwest, which have a very limited amount of out of the country destinations. However, I'm confident we'll find something :-)

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  2. Win win situation, you did well handling all these last minute changes.

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  3. It is so wonderful to be on a relaxed schedule. Now that we are retired, and if not traveling with grandchildren, we can be more flexible. In years past, when asked to give up our seats, I have always declined because we were on such a tight schedule and had to get right to our next destination.

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    1. Yet another advantage of retirement!

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  4. My son-in-law once put his mother on the flight home from Germany and spent the night sleeping on the floor in his overcoat in exchange for a free round trip ticket to Europe. His 75 year old mother wanted her son to go home; she was perfectly capable of waiting until the next day, thank you!

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    1. Ah, to be young! At my age I don't know if even a free round trip flight to Europe would be enough of an incentive to make me sleep on a hard floor.

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